Early voting is under way in the special election in Congressional District 8, with more than 185,000 ballots in the mail to those who wanted a head start on voting.

The number of ballots out early is 56 percent of the registered voters in the district, says F. Ann Rodriguez, Pima County recorder. The recorder's office is responsible for voter registration, voter verification in cases such as provisional voting and early voting.

In addition to those on the permanent early voting list, who receive a ballot in the mail for each election they're eligible to vote in, some people have requested early ballots because they will be away during the summer election. Election Day for the CD8 special general election is June 12.

“A lot of these voters have already contacted us saying that they’re going to be away, and we’re mailing their ballots to their second home or wherever they’re going to be," Rodriguez says. "If we get returned ballots we chase those voters and we say you need to contact us and say where do you want to send your ballot?”

Rodriguez says ballots do not get forwarded when a registered voter has set up mail forwarding, so a voter must let the recorder's office know of an address change, even if the change is temporary.

Rodriguez says 65 people had already voted early in person by Friday afternoon. The first day of early voting was Thursday. She says she expects to begin receiving completed ballots back from voters in the mail Monday.

Rodriguez sent ballots to those who requested them, and those on the early voting list in CD8, including:

- 58 percent of registered Republicans
- 61 percent of registered Democrats
- 50 percent of the rest of the voters (no party, Libertarian, Green)
Early votes are not counted until after 7 p.m. poll closing time on Election Day.

In past elections, including the 2010 CD8 contest between incumbent Democrat Gabrielle Giffords and challenger Kelly, and again in the special CD8 Republican primary in April 2012, the candidate who won among early voters was the overall victor in the race.

The candidates in the race are Democrat Ron Barber, Republican Jesse Kelly and Green Charlie Manolakis.

Watch a one-hour forum with all three candidates to hear their positions on Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, energy, the border and more.

Your Vote 2012: The AZPM Election Center